Driving a car is likely a person's single most polluting daily activity. Significant progress has been made in reducing emissions and improving air quality since the 1970s. However, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation , the number of miles that our vehicles travel has nearly tripled since then. People are driving more miles than ever before, and this offsets some of the advantages gained from cleaner technology.
- Using an Alternative Work Schedule or Telecommuting to reduce the miles you drive to and from work
- Travel by Carpooling, Ridesharing, or Mass Transit options to reduce the amount of vehicles on the road
- Utilizing or starting a Park and Ride location
- Shopping by phone, mail, or the Internet
- Have a healthier commute with Walking or Biking
How we operate our vehicles can help reduce pollution. Here are some ideas:
- Slowly increase your car's speed and use cruise control on the highway.
- Trip-Chaining, which combines several errands into a single trip
- Obey the speed limit. It saves gas and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
- Keep your vehicle tuned up and your tires properly inflated. Both help save gasoline and improve air quality, as well as make your car safer.
- Don't top off the gas tank.
- When shopping for that next car, consider more efficient, less-polluting models.
- Do not idle your vehicle. Turn off your engine if you expect to be stopped for more than 30 seconds (except in traffic). Consider not using drive-through windows, instead park and walk inside.
Use Air-Friendly Products
Many products in our homes, yards or offices are made of chemicals that escape into the air when used. To reduce this type of pollution:
- Select water-based solvents or those with low volatile organic compound (VOC) content.
- Use water-based paints or those labeled zero VOC .
- Paint with a brush instead of a sprayer; paint overspray from a sprayer can disperse into the air
- Store solvents like paint thinners in airtight containers so that they do not evaporate into the air you breathe.
- Use a reel or electric lawn mower and other non-gas-powered equipment such as edgers.